EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It was last September when El Paso’s Jennifer Han (18-4-1) suffered a unanimous decision loss in one of the biggest fights of her career against the undisputed lightweight world champion Katie Taylor (20-0-0).
“I have deep respect for Katie Taylor, but I know that was not my best performance.” said Han.
“Her [Jennifer Han] performance against Katie Taylor shocked a lot of people,” said Han’s head trainer, Louie Burke. “Knowing all the obstacles she had to come up against, a long lay off, a pregnancy, a drastic weight loss, and she still performed the way she did. I think it opened up a lot of eyes and it said hey she can compete with anybody at any level in the whole world.”
Fast forward seven months later, Han is just days away from stepping inside the ring for another chance at winning a world title. The person in the way of stopping that is the unified world junior lightweight champion Mikaela Mayer (16-0-0).
This time around, Han is excited about the way training camp is going compared to the last training camp leading up to the Katie Taylor fight, where Han had to shake off the ring rust after giving birth to her second son.
“Having a baby is not easy and to stretch out and bounce back that was my main focus,” said Han. “I did what I could but this fight is totally different. I don’t have to lose 75 pounds, I got a decent training camp, I have the experience, the sparring partners, everything is falling into place as it should be.”
“I think we are way ahead now then we were last time she fought Katie Taylor,” said Burke. “She was coming off a pregnancy, she [Jennifer Han] had to lose 75 pounds from the first day we got into camp. This time around we did not have the weight problems so we are way ahead of schedule now and is looking good.”
Han looks to be in the form of her life on Saturday when she faces off with the WBO and IBF world female junior lightweight champion in Mikaela Mayer.
The unified champion is coming off claiming the IBF world female junior lightweight belt with an unanimous decision victory last November in her fight against Maiva Hamadouche (20-1-0).
This is Mayer’s first defense as the unified junior lightweight champion.
Meanwhile, Han is looking to pull of the upset victory in Mayer’s home territory of California. Han knows what it is going to take to walk out of the ring as a champion.
“I know I am not sugar coating anything and I know that everything is not in my favor, but it doesn’t matter,” said Han. “I have the boxing skills, the experience, the talent, this is my opportunity and I am going to take it. I know it is in her backyard, I know it is her promoter, I know she is the champion, but it doesn’t matter because I prepared for this opportunity and now it is my time to shine.”
Mikaela Mayer vs. Jennifer Han will take place on Saturday, April 9 at The Hangar OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, CA. The main card is schedule to start at 8:00 p.m. MT and the main event should begin around 9:15 p.m. MT, depending on the length of the undercard fights.
You can watch Mikaela Mayer vs. Jennifer Han on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (simulcast on ESPN+). The undercard fights will be exclusively on ESPN+.